Netflix is testing pre- and post-roll advertisements

Shawn Knight

TechSpot Staff
Staff member

One of the huge advantages Netflix has enjoyed over rival Hulu Plus is its lack of ads. Both services charge customers a monthly fee to access their respective premium services although Hulu also forces members to watch commercials at regular intervals.

Unfortunately, Netflix may lose that competitive advantage.

Motherboard points out that Netflix is currently experimenting with pre- and post-roll ads for specific users in specific markets. Thankfully, Netflix is only showing trailers for its own content like Orange is the New Black and House of Cards meaning it hasn’t reached out to third-party advertisers.

Even still, people aren’t exactly happy with the interruptions. Twitter users have already voiced their concerns on the matter yet as the publication points out, without knowing how widespread the tests are, it’s impossible to tell just how upset people really are.

In response to the story, a Netflix spokesperson told the publication they do not and will not be adding third-party ads.

If Netflix was to sell third-party ads, it’d be in a pretty good position to do so. The company keeps a detailed list of every show or movie you’ve ever watched. That sort of personalized information would be a gold mine when it comes to selling targeted ads.

Investors would no doubt approve of the additional revenue that ads would bring in but that’s all dependent on members sticking around. The company already fended off one serious management flub; it may not want to tempt fate for a second time.

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TS Addict
The reason I pay is so I never get adds. If they put adds on it totally defeats the point for me and I will see no good reason to choose netflix over any other advert funded system. As for showing ads of stuff that is on netflix already I really don't see the point.
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TS Maniac
An advertisement for Orange is the New black is not something I want my two year old to see while he's watching some Curious George in the morning.


TS Forces Special
Why do this? Why delay my watching one thing to advertise me another show? I'm paying the money each month anyway. I don't get it.
HBO Now is doing this, at least for their new shows (can't remember if they do it on movies). Before Game of Thrones, Last Week Tonight and Silicon Valley all have an ad for one of HBO's series before the episode.

An advertisement for Orange is the New black is not something I want my two year old to see while he's watching some Curious George in the morning.
I'm sure that is why they do that 'who's watching' thing. I get asked if I'm watching of if Kids are. I don't even have kids, its just me, its annoying that I have to choose.


I got Hulu Plus to see if all the ads people were talking about were true (it is/they are) and with certainty can tell you that I will not keep the subscription. There are about 4 and 5 ads per show. It would be different if I didn't pay..but I do. So thanks, but no thanks Hulu; you can keep your ads and I will keep my money.

Also, lets not overlook the glaring fact of Hulu Plus - even the shows they do have, A LOT are only the most recent season. So there is no watching from beginning.

What I'm saying is that Netflix is the way to go, but if they start with ads they will lose my subscription.
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TS Addict
I will definitely cancel my subscription if they begin airing ads, before or after shows that I watch. I look at it as, they can either get the money from me, or from an advertiser, but if they are getting the money from an advertiser, they will not get any money from me.
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TS Evangelist
There is a reason I don't have a Hulu subscription.... let's hope that same reason doesn't apply to Netflix. I really like the service but like others here I'll cancel in a heartbeat if they put in ads. Now that being said if there was opt-in ads that I could skip instantly I might consider it.
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TS Evangelist
With their continuing moves to disenfranchise their DVD customers and spending all their efforts on original programming (rather than adding other programming to their streaming library) Netflix is one mistake away from killing their business. If people are going to be forced to deal with ads then their going to do it somewhere they can actually see NEW episodes and films, I.e. cable or Amazon Prime.


"If Netflix was to sell third-party ads, it’d be in a pretty good position to do so."

Not really. Most of its customers use it because there are no ads. Putting ads in Netflix defeats the purpose of using Netflix specifically and therfore entirely. Just because they have a bunch of data they COULD use with advertisers doesn't make it a good move to make. Maybe if they wanted to make a little money in the VERY short run and loose a ton of momentum shortly afterwards they could.

Netflix is probably in the last position to start trying to push third-party ads really.


TS Evangelist
If they introduced 3rd party ads, I'd definitely cancel. Why not just watch TV then? I've considered getting Hulu but never did due to the ads.

I'd heavily considering canceling too even if the ads are for 1st party content (House of Cards, etc). I already know of all their own content since it's always plastered in "Trending Now/Popular Now" and "Recommended For You" even if it's a 1 star rating for me and the complete opposite of anything I watch.

Actually, I wonder if this all did go through, even just 1st party adverts, how the next "How Streaming Services Affected The Rate of Piracy" study would turn up; a lot of the decline as of late was attributed to Netflix after all.


TechSpot Paladin
Currently I have a choice of watching Sparticus Season 2 on Netflix or Sky Box Sets. Netflix knows what the last thing was that I watched on my computer, my phone or my tablet. One click and I am back watching. It mimics the DVD box set experience minus the annoying "Do not steal or pirate" video you are forced to watch at the start of each disk.

When it becomes something else, and my viewing is delayed by ads even though I am already paying, it will become redundant to me and I will cancel. Its not on.